Special Ed FAQ

This webpage will help families answer questions regarding special education in Hutchinson Public Schools.

1) What is special education?
2) Who is eligible for special education services?
3) How do I refer my child for a special education evaluation?
4) What is an Individual Education Program (IEP) plan?
5) Can nonpublic school students receive special education services?
6) What is Third Party Billing?

What is special education?

The Individuals With Disabilities Act of 2004 is a federal law that requires school districts to identify and provide special education services to students with disabilities. The state of Minnesota also has laws and rules that guide school districts in their work in providing services to students with disabilities and their families.

Special education addresses the individual needs of students with disabilities through specially designed instructional and related services programs. Specially designed instruction is provided by adapting the content, methodology, or the delivery of instruction to meet the needs of individual students. Related services can be provided to students with a disability to assist in benefiting from their program of specialized instruction. Related services include: occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychological services, audiology, adaptive equipment or technology, orientation and mobility, school social work, speech/language pathology, and special transportation.

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Who is eligible for special education services?

Students must qualify for special education services by meeting the specific eligibility criteria defined by the Minnesota Department of Education. Students are evaluated by a team of school personnel to determine if they qualify in one or more of the following disability categories:


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How do I refer my child for a special education evaluation?

Birth to age 3: Referrals for infants and toddlers up to age 3 can be made by calling Sara Johnson at 320-234-2619 or online at Help Me Grow.

Ages 3-6: Referrals for preschool children, ages 3-6, may be made by contacting the Sarah Watson at 320-234-2712 or online at Help Me Grow.

Kindergarten-12th grade: Referrals for school age children may be made by contacting your child’s teacher or the principal of the school your child attends.

When a referral is received, a team of educational professionals will review the referral and determine if there is a need to proceed with the evaluation. Parents will be asked for their permission to assess if the evaluation will be conducted.

The school district will conduct the evaluation as soon as possible after parent permission has been obtained. This evaluation will determine if the student is eligible for and in need of special education services. Parent initiated outside evaluations conducted by physicians, clinics, or outside agencies will also be reviewed and considered in terms of the educational evaluation. However, the district is not required to accept the results or implement the recommendations from an outside assessment unless it is agreed upon through the evaluation team process.

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What is an Individual Education Program (IEP) plan?

An Individual Education Program (IEP) plan is developed through a team process if a student is eligible and in need of special education services. This plan provides the guidelines for the specially designed instruction and related services that an eligible student will receive. The IEP team develops goals and objectives for the student to achieve and determines the appropriate educational strategies necessary for the child to make educational progress. An IEP plan is reviewed at least one time a year, but more often if requested by the parent(s) or educational staff.

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Can nonpublic school students receive special education services?

Yes. When a student is enrolled in a nonpublic school, the providing district (the school district where the nonpublic school is located) is responsible for assuring that appropriate special education services are provided.

To refer nonpublic school students for a special education evaluation, nonpublic administrators and teachers need to contact the grade appropriate public school administration.

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What is Third Party Billing?

Minnesota law (M.S.125A.21) requires that school districts seek reimbursement from private and public health insurers for the cost of health-related services provided to students receiving special education services. If your child receives health-related IEP services the IEP team may ask your permission to share information with your insurer or physician in order to bill for these services.

Health-related services may include diagnosis, evaluation, assessment, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, audiology, paraprofessional services, mental health services, nursing services, or transportation.

Districts are required to seek payment from both public and private insurers. However, Hutchinson Public Schools will seek to bill only public insurance such as Medical Assistance (MA) and MinnesotaCare (MC). This will not impact a family’s medical coverage.


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Hutchinson Public Schools

Hutchinson Public Schools